Living Dayton Television Appearance

Yesterday I had the opportunity to be on the local NBC channel to talk about the upcoming WordCamp Dayton event.

It’s hard to believe how much time goes into getting ready for a 4 minute live segment on the show.

A few days before the event, Gery Deer and I emailed back and forth about the content to be on the show.

Living Dayton airs from 12pm-1pm and we arrived at the studio at 11:15pm to get my computer hooked up to the television to make sure everything worked properly.

Our segment was the last of the show, so we were able to watch all of the groups of people get ready and broadcast their segment.

I wish we could have gotten in more details about building a website on WordPress; but unfortunately, our segment was only 4 minutes in length.

Password Friday

Every Friday, I have a reminder to update 10 of my passwords to my online accounts. I value the safety of my identity and want it to be hard for hackers to create chaos in my online life.

Back in the day (pre college), I used to have one password and I used it for everything. It didn’t matter if it was my login for my ESPN account or my bank, my password was the same.

Then I got a randomly generated password for my college email account and once I had memorized it, I started using that password for anything I needed a ‘secure’ password. Basically any account that had my banking information, now had that password.

This is particularly bad, because if someone got that one password, they could get into all of my accounts.

I liked having one strong password that I could remember for everything as it was easy to log into sites very quickly.

Then, one day, my eBay account was hacked and someone purchased a $500 phone from my account. After getting that all cleared up, eBay reset my password and I now had a third password to use to set up online accounts.

So, when I’d sign up for a new online profile, I’d pick one of the three. Then when I came back to log into the site, I’d only have to try three different ones.

Fast forward to last year.

I started using a program called 1Password to start generating and saving new passwords for my accounts. It’s got a great feature built in that you can control the ‘formula’ of your password. You can set how many characters and how many numbers or symbols make up your password.


After generating the password, it will prompt you to save your username / password in the 1Password vault.

Last year I was really good with adding my accounts into 1Password, but I wasn’t good about making sure my passwords were unique to each individual account.

That’s where Password Friday comes in to play.

Currently I have 335 usernames and passwords stored in my 1Password account and a little more than 100 are older than one year old.

I use the Security Audit to find my oldest accounts and update the passwords to about 10 accounts each Friday. The oldest accounts = the accounts that have been stored the longest without the password being updated.

I’ve been working at this for a few months now and it’s actually been a fun activity to start a Friday. It’s sometimes a challenge to find the ‘Reset my password’ link so I make a game of it to see how fast I can update a password.

My thought is that I will continue until all of my passwords are unique and then I’ll start over because the passwords I changed first will have remained the same for about a year.

I’ve also been closing accounts that I no longer need and merging duplicate entries in 1Password.

I’ll save how to user 1Password for another post, and highly recommend you to start using a tool like 1Password or LastPass for storing all of your passwords.

Daily Blogging Hard

Usually when I set my mind to a goal, there’s no stopping me. However, with the daily blogging goal, it’s been a struggle.

Every day it’s on my to do list and it just gets pushed off until later. And I’m in no mood to publish a blog post after dinner.

The first five days of the challenge were easy. I was on the road traveling and I got up earlier than the rest of my team and was able to write a post before heading out for the day.

Last Saturday was when the wheels fell off.

I discovered around 10am that our sump pump in our house wasn’t working and the backup had kicked on. It had rained most of Friday and Saturday morning and our sump croc fills up with water quickly.

I dropped all plans for the day and ran out to Lowe’s to buy this stuff to start the process of replacing the broken pump.

2014-12-06 11.09.10

I worked for a couple of hours and after another trip to Lowe’s, finally was able to get the new one installed temporarily to start pumping the water out of our house.

We had family Christmas pictures schedule so I had to leave before the job was fully completely. Luckily my mom was in town, so we left to get the pictures taken and she baby sat the sump pump.

I wasn’t able to install the float, so I needed her to unplug the pump if the croc ever completely emptied.

When we returned from pictures, my dad had arrived and we spent until 6:30pm getting the new pump completely installed.

So, finally, at 7pm, I was ready to start my day.

I decided to spend time with my family and not blog and that’s when the daily posts stopped.

Now that I’m caught up from the weekend’s adventures and my traveling from last week, I’m all set to tackle the daily mission of blogging again.

Travel Woes

Today we wrapped up our team meetup in Austin and we all headed our separate ways.

One of the benefits of working at Automattic is that we can choose flights with times/layovers that are most convenient for us.

Today’s my wife’s birthday and I planned on getting home by 5pm so we could celebrate by going out to dinner.

Everything was going well until I got to the Dallas airport (DFW). Our flight was originally delayed by 30 minutes. And then 30 more minutes. It finally ended up boarding more than 2 hours late and we left nearly 3 hours late.

Now I’m going to have to book it home to have a chance to see my daughter before she goes to sleep.

I can understand that weather related delays will happen, but my flight was delayed because our plane was parked somewhere else and we had to wait for two hours for someone to drive the plane to the gate.

Oh, the joys of flying.

Dinner and a Movie

This week I’m in Austin, Texas spending a few days with my coworkers. On these trips we spend time working together and hanging out.

Tonight we went to the Alamo Drafthouse for dinner and a movie.

Yes, both dinner and a movie. The unique feature about this theater is that you can order food and it’s brought directly to your table. The seats are arranged like a regular movie theater, except each row of chairs has a table in front of it.

It was definitely a unique experience, but I don’t think I’m sold on eating while watching a movie.

It’s Dark
The lights were turned down low and it was nearly impossible to see your food. Perhaps I chose the wrong ‘movie food’ but I felt slightly challenged eating my salad.

You Miss Parts of the Movie
Every time I looked down to fill my fork with more food, I missed a few seconds of the movie. Had I ordered popcorn, I could have easily shoveled in the kernels without taking my eyes off the screen.

Takes Longer to Eat
Our orders were taken before the movie started and it probably took me 25 minutes to eat my salad, as I tried to take bites during the parts of the movie that didn’t have too much action.


Welcome to the Chaos

Exactly one year ago today, I started full-time at Automattic, the company behind

It’s been a crazy ride, filled with travel, making new friends and learning a ton about; and I love every minute of it.

My official title is Happiness Engineer, which means I’m on the customer support team and help users figure out how to use WordPress to build their websites. I communicate almost exclusively with my team via text and even all of our training documents are stored in an online Field Guide. The initial page of our Field Guide says ‘Welcome to the Chaos.’ I smiled and thought, how chaotic could it really be?

With an outsiders perspective, it could seem like the way that we work doesn’t make sense and how could it possibly be productive. Our flexible schedules (which mine changes daily), to working with coworkers who live on different continents, to booking last minute travel to hangout with team mates have all become the new normal.

In the last year
– I’ve travelled to Las Vegas, San Fransisco, Barbados, Milwaukee, Dallas, Park City, Austin, and Ann Arbor for either team meetups or conferences which I spoke. Total distance travelled: 16,000+ miles.
– I’ve attended five WordCamps, in three different states and spoke at 3 of them.
– I’ve gained a new perspective on internet safety and I’m working to make all 400+ online profiles have unique passwords.
– I’ve helped thousands of users make their website better.
– I spent a three month rotation with the VaultPress team, helping users backup their self-hosted versions of WordPress.
– I’ve created and published 52 episodes of Your Website Engineer podcast. This is a passion project of mine and it keeps me plugged into the WordPress community.2014-06-25 14.09.01
– I’ve found dozens of bugs in our software and had them fixed (usually within minutes) by our amazing developers.
– I’ve acquired an entire wardrobe full of WordPress branded clothes and not sure why I still feel the need for ‘regular’ clothes, since I don’t leave the house (unless traveling) 90% of the work week.

Overall, this has been one of the craziest years for me and then throw in having our first baby in March and it’s been a heck of a chaotic ride.

Sound like something you’d be interested in? Apply today we are always hiring.

31 Day Challenge

Today I am starting a challenge of posting daily to this blog for several reasons:

– I’m very bad at blogging and need a reason to regularly post
– I need to familiarize myself with all of the different options to post to WordPress, especially mobile and the WordPress app

Gerber Baby of the Year?

Our daughter is in the Gerber Baby of the year category and we would appreciate a few seconds for a vote :)

Here is the link to vote.

The contest is set up so you can vote once per day until Dec 14. It’s pretty annoying that you have to put in your birthday and an email address each day to vote and we recommend using a generic junk email account! :)

The picture below is the picture you will see on the voting link!


PS – If you’d like a daily reminder to vote, let me know and I can make that happen!

Day in the Life of an Automattician

In an effort to get to know each other’s work days better, and to share publicly what it is like to work for a distributed company where most of us work from home, some of us at Automattic will be publishing “A Day in the Life” posts on our personal blogs throughout this week. The posts will be tagged #a8cday if you’d like to follow along.

5:30 – Head downstairs to my office with my water bottle to start the day.

Do I like getting up this early? Not really. But with an almost 7-month old baby in the house, it’s important to get my day started early.

Here's my desk set up, complete with LED under mounted lights.
Here’s my desk set up, complete with LED under mounted lights.

I’ve closed down most things from last night, so I open up the ticket queue. Before I dive into answering tickets, I open up Focus@Will. It’s an online service that plays word free music and gets me in the zone to work. I typically set the timer for 25 minutes and start working and that’s exactly what I did this morning.

Start answering tickets starting with the oldest. 13hrs old, 20 in the queue.

Normally there would would hundreds of support requests to attend to, but I’m on a rotation with the VaultPress Team. The VaultPress volume is less, but the tickets are much trickier and usually take much longer to resolve.

A few ticket examples from this morning:
– How can I cancel my account?
– My website isn’t backing up, PLEASE HELP!
– Is it possible to backup up multiple installations of WordPress on my server?

Over the course of 3 Focus@Will sessions, there are only 3 left in the queue.

7:00 – Moved to the dining room table. My wife is starting to get ready for work and I’m on baby listening duty.

Start reading internal posts (also referred to as P2 posts, based on P2 Theme to catch up what’s been going on across the company since yesterday

Saw the notification about the new version of the Beta VaultPress iOS app, so I install it / start to play with it and test out the new features. Cool new features on the horizon.

Download the App Here

25 minute block got me thru all my P2 posts

8:00 – Breakfast and play time with daughter. Anxiously wait for in home baby sitter to come so I can get back to work :)

9:00 – Grab my computer and head down to my office.

I pull up to learn a bit of Javascript. Automattic allows us to spend time each week learning new skills. During the past year, I’ve refreshed my HTML/CSS skills and mastered improved my Sass skills. Now I’m digging into Javascript because it seems like everywhere I look, I’m seeing Javascript code.

Today’s lesson: loops. Focused on for and while loops and how to print text to a browser. I’m getting good with console.log("Print this out");

10:00 – Browse other a8cday posts to get inspiration / see how my colleagues are creating their blog posts.

10:30 – Back to the ticket queue. Sitting at 18 resolved posts right now

Second ticket in came from a colleague pointing out that a reminder email we send out is slightly outdated. After a brief chat on Slack (our internal communication tool) I posted to the VaultPress team’s P2 (our internal blog) to let our team know and for us to create a todo to get it fixed.

11:00 – Quick break to jump rope. 52 consecutive jumps and a few grapes as a snack. With all the traveling in the last 3 weeks (only been home 2 days), I’m slowly getting back into doing physical activity inside. I’ve found jump roping, pushups and pull-ups are great to do in batches when I need a break.

Keeping answering tickets in the queue. Finally get the queue back down to 5.

12:00 – Few errands and lunch.

2:00 – Back to it. This time at standing desk. Usually I spend more time at my standing desk, but I’m slowly getting back into it after being ‘lazy’ for a few weeks.

Pings from coworkers distract me from working on my WordPress Project.

I’m one of the go-to people when there is a podcasting question, so I chat about podcasting for awhile.

I realize that I have too much going on today to spend time on a project right now, so I move that block of time until tomorrow and spend more time answering tickets.

During this time, I continue to work for 25 minutes and break for 5 minutes. During the breaks, I refill my water bottle, do misc. tasks around the house, or jump rope. At one point, I got to 72 consecutive jumps :)

4:00 – One more read thru P2 posts and email and then tidy up my crazy ridiculous to do list and I’m wrapped up for the day.

Babysitter is leaving, so it’s time to go play with blocks and other toys.

That’s my day in a nutshell! My days vary based on the availability of our babysitter. Sound like something you’d enjoy? Apply today we’re always hiring.

Goodbye Concrete Slab

Ever since we’ve moved into our house (August 2010), we’ve hated our outdoor living space.

Our house had a 12′ by 12′ concrete slab, which wasn’t quite big enough for our six person table, grill and tower garden. When we had people over, we brought out the folding chairs and table and placed them on the uneven grass.

Well, today is the last day for the old concrete slab. Tomorrow a local company, Deal’s Landscaping, will be cleaning out the old and preparing for our new paver patio.

Here are some before images:

Featured Image -- 173


Dustin Hartzler:

Had a great time last week with some of my Automattic coworkers!

Originally posted on Ryan C.:

The company I work for, Automattic, is a distributed company. That means our employees live and work all over the world. A few times each year, we meet up to spend time working and having fun together. I’ve just returned from a meetup in Barbados, where we worked on the email subscription feature of and Jetpack.

View original 126 more words

Thankful for our Friends

This weekend, my college roommate and his wife traveled from Columbus to hang out with us for a few hours and to meet Kenley face-to-face (as we’ve previously only Skyped).

Today, a friend from our church came over to hold her during the day so mommy could sleep and daddy could work.

We’ve had dozens of people stop by, bring food, and lend a helping hand.

Even though we’d enjoy moving to somewhere where it’s warm all the time, it would be hard to give up all of our friends who love and support who are here.

I think we’ll be in Dayton for quite some time (as a permanent location).

Best Time to Have a Baby

Even though our daughter came into this world almost a week and a half past her due date, I think having a child the second week of March is the perfect time.

This was our position for nearly every game.
This was our position for nearly every game.

The main reason, basketball is on TV.

The Thursday after she was born, all of the collegiate tournament games started and went through that entire first weekend.

Then came March Madness, where we probably watched a good two dozen games together.

Another reason is that the days are starting to get longer. It’s relatively easy to get up and start your day, even when you’ve only gotten 4 hours of sleep, when the sun is shining.

Plus the days are getting warmer. One of these days, we might try taking a walk as a family of three.

And finally, the last best reason to have a baby in March is that my daughter now gets to share a birthday with me :)

Getting Dressed Up

Tonight my wife was inducted into the Ohio Pharmacists Association (OPA) Board of Trustees with a semi-formal dinner banquet.

Now I’m not normally drug (no pun intended) to these types of things, but since we have a brand new baby that’s getting 100% of her nutrition from Mommy, I got to attend.

For this special occasion, I had the privilege of dressing up, dress pants, shirt, tie, and dress shoes. I can’t remember the last time I looked so fancy.

Typically, I wear mesh shorts and a t-shirt. If I have to leave the house, I’ll change into jeans.

Okay, back to getting ready to go.

After successfully picking out a tie, since my wife didn’t like the first two options I suggested, I attempted to tie the tie.

Tying a tie is like riding a bike right? Once you learn, you’ll never forget.

Well, I could remember the process of double loop, pull up from the bottom and tuck, but I couldn’t remember how the long the short end of the tie needed to be.2014-04-05 23.31.11

My first try resulted in my tie almost reaching my belly button.

Tries 2 – 5 resulted in a tie that was much too long.

Attempts 6 and 7 again resulted in a tie too short.

Finally on the 8th attempt, I finally got it.

And I have to admit, I look pretty good in a tie.

I’ll try wearing one again in about 6 months :)

Accomplished Big WordPress Goal Today

As most of you know, I’m a huge WordPress fan, even so much so that I now work for Automattic, the company behind WordPress.

For the last few years, I’ve had a goal of contributing to WordPress core. Basically I wanted to find a bug in the code somewhere and notify the team and have the bug fixed.

Well, today is that day.

It all started yesterday when a user wrote in with a problem with their website. With their current theme, when they added the form for people to subscribe to their blog, the text box was completely white, without a border and the text inside the box was white as well.

After confirming that it was a bug with the theme, I submitted my first bug report to WordPress core. Here is the link to the trac ticket:

And here is the screenshot of my ticket:
trac ticket

Three Week’s Old

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been a father for three weeks now.

On one hand it seems like it was months ago that we were in the hospital giving birth to Kenley Rae, but on the other hand each day goes so by so quickly that it seems like the weeks are flying by.

It’s such a joy to be able to work from home and help out around the house during the day and watch my daughter grow up.

Here’s a few pictures of her growing up:

Horrible April Fool’s Joke

Carte di credito e tastiera

Yesterday I got a call from our credit card company validating an $8.90 charge to a glass stemware company in Alabama, uh, no.

After a few minutes on the phone and validating all the other recent charges were legit, the card number was shut down. It’s not a big deal, I don’t have to pay for the fraudulent charge and a new card is on my way tomorrow.

But it is annoying for two reasons:

First, I have my credit card number memorized so it’s quick and convenient for me to purchase things online. I memorized it after several times trying to purchase something on my computer and I didn’t have my wallet with me.

Second, I now have to go thru and update my payment information for all of the companies that I have automatically drafted each month to our card. If I were to guess, I probably have 15 different places I now have to update once I get our new card.

If only this was an April Fool’s joke!

Welcome Baby Hartzler!

Dustin Hartzler:

Some pictures of our little miracle Kenley Rae

Originally posted on

Just a quick post to share with our family and friends our precious bundle of joy that arrived 2 weeks ago!  Kenley Rae Hartzler was born on March 12th at 5:03 pm. She weighed 8 lbs 3 oz and was 21.5 inches long.  She is going to be tall like her folks!  Can’t believe she is 2 weeks old today, while we might only be getting 4-5 hours of sleep in spurts on a good night, it has been such a joy and we are so thankful for her! It is such an amazing miracle of God.   We still can’t fathom how tiny cells grow to be this over 8 lb beautiful baby.  We pray that God would use her life in a mightly way for His glory.  Thank you for all your prayers and support, continued prayers for our transition!


Dustin & Melody

“For you formed my…

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The Day We Fight Back: Protest NSA Surveillance on Your Blog

Dustin Hartzler:

Yes please!

Originally posted on News:

Today, a broad coalition of interest groups, websites, and people around the world are joining together to fight back against government surveillance. We’re supporting the “Day We Fight Back” on and have created a banner that you can easily add to your blog to get involved, too.

The “Stop NSA Surveillance” banner shows support for this important cause and provides a link to a page of resources to help visitors to contact members of the US Congress to support much needed anti-surveillance legislation. For more information, please visit

How to add the banner to your site

Here’s how to add the banner to your site in three steps:

  1. In your dashboard, go to Settings  Protest NSA Surveillance.
  2. Click on the checkbox labelled Protest Enabled.
  3. Click on the Save Changes button for the change to take effect.

The banner will remain on…

View original 15 more words

Happy New Year!

2014 is going to be an incredible year for the Hartzler’s.

In additional to expanding our family with our daughter on approximately February 28th we will be adding two brother-in-laws and a niece and a nephew!

Melody’s sister is getting married in June and my sister is getting married in the fall (date, TBD).

Our little family is getting bigger :)

I think 2014 is going to be a crazy year, but hopefully the best one yet!


Happiness Engineer

Today it’s official. I’m starting full-time at Automattic. Automattic is the company behind

I say that today it’s official, even though I’ve been working with the awesome Automatticians for the last six weeks. Secretly, I’ve been going through a trial rotation to make sure that I am a good fit for the company.

The last six weeks have been incredible. I’m excited to join the distributed team of amazing people who live all over the world!

Each day, I’ll be doing my part to make the web a better place. The Happiness Engineering position is a unique mix of tech support, bug reporting, feature testing, training, and documentation for Automattic’s products and services.

I’ve spent the last three years learning and teaching about WordPress and today, I get to be part of the team that can change the way we publish online.

If you’re as big of a WordPress fan as I am, you should apply too!